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How to Run with Good Form

Running injuries are some of the most common injuries we see at our physical therapy clinic.  Some of the reasons runners suffer from recurrent injuries include:

  1. insufficient strength of the hip flexors, quads, calves, and posterior chain that lead to movement compensations
  2. missing mobility in the hips, foot, and foot/ankle joint leading that lead to movement compensations
  3. faulty running form.

This article will primarily focus on how to develop a better running form.

Key #1 is achieving a midfoot strike:

  • contact the ground with your midfoot first
  • your entire foot should land softly and under the hip line
  • run light, avoid pounding

Key #2 is maintaining a lean:

  • lean from the ankles without bending at the waist.
  • keep weight slightly forward and flex at the ankles
  • use gravity to generate forward momentum.

Key #3 is maintaining optimal cadence

  • target = 180 steps per minute
  • to find cadence run for 1-minute counting the number of times your foot hits the ground.  Your target should be 90 strikes per foot (total = 180)
  • 180 cadence promotes a shorter,  quicker stride, and a mid-foot strike

If you focus on these keys when you run, you will have a better running form.  This means less impact on your hips, knees, and heels.  However, you will have more force placed on your Achilles tendon, calves, and hamstrings (i.e. posterior chain).  In the short term, this may require additional strength and conditioning of your posterior chain muscles training to adapt to these changes.  However, in the long-term, you should have a better joint health and be less prone to recurrent injuries.

With the proper instruction, learning and adapting to a new form is possible even if you've been running for years.  However, ignoring pain and continuing to run with poor form can result in a further decline of your joint health.  If you're worried about running pain, the physical therapists at Movement Solutions would be glad to help you.

We invite you to request a consultation with one of our specialists.  This is an opportunity to ask questions, obtain clarity about your shoulder pain, and foster confidence that we can help you.  If you’re certain that we’re a good fit to work together, you can decide on the next step.

If you’re in pain but unsure about what you should do, call us at (864) 558-7346 and ask how we can help.

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